Belfast Telegraph

There's still a place for face to face in digital era - Down Royal manager

By Mike Todd, general manager at Down Royal

Corporate hospitality is dead, isn't it? There is a famous old adage which goes ... 'people do business with people'. At Down Royal, we've always been firmly behind this because we know the positive impact hospitality and conversation can make – it's something we've been doing for years.

'Network' is a much-used catch word you regularly hear in conversations these days, and, especially during these tougher economic times, 'connecting' seems like the only pro-active thing to do.

With the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, more and more 'switched on' business people are busy beefing up their social media presence to win new leads, make valuable partnerships or even to simply find out what everyone else is up to.

But there is nothing like good, old-fashioned, face-to-face networking, even in the digital age.

In a world dominated by social media, the 'old ways' still work as well today as when I joined the racecourse back in 1996 – before Twitter and Facebook.

I firmly believe that while social media has added an exciting new dimension, face-to-face discussions will continue to form the bedrock of strong, meaningful and productive business relationships.

In a fragile economic environment, I've noticed that firms of all shapes, sizes and industries are starting to re-engage outside of social media by investing time and effort in the relationships they have with clients, suppliers and their peers.

Isn't it time to start talking, shaking hands, sharing ideas and focusing on a future built on mutual respect? Good conversation and the best hospitality in the right environment can really make a difference, and the continued, solid growth of our own business and the Down Royal brand is testament to our belief in this.

Hospitality is crucially important. Fortunately at Down Royal racecourse, we have invested heavily in this area. It has always appealed to firms because it helps oil the wheels of business.

Of course, we can't ignore the present, and I'm the first to admit to have fully embraced the digital arena reaping significant benefits in reaching audiences.

The important thing to remember is that networking does not have to be hard work and the more you get out there and do it, the more enjoyable it is.

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